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Most-likely spots in Utah for speeding tickets

By Tania Dean and Mike Headrick, KSL TV | Posted - Feb 26th, 2019 @ 8:02am

SALT LAKE CITY — A glimpse in the rear-view mirror. The flashing lights behind you. The realization that you’re going too fast. Most of us know how it feels to be busted for speeding.

Last year alone, Utah officers wrote more than 160,000 speeding tickets across the state.

How can you avoid getting a ticket? The obvious answer is not to speed. The KSL Investigators wanted to find out which agencies wrote the most speeding tickets. They also analyzed tens of thousands of speeding tickets to learn when you’re most likely to get one.

The data comes from the Utah State courts and includes 163,272 speeding tickets from 138 cities and counties across Utah during 2018.

Top cities/counties based on ticket volume in 2018

  • Salt Lake City: 10,846 tickets
  • Sandy: 9,958 tickets
  • Washington County: 6,021 tickets
  • Iron County: 5,385 tickets
  • Orem: 5,125 tickets

Officer Zack Young is a traffic cop with Unified Police Department, and though he doesn’t work in Salt Lake City, he said the high number in the state’s capital makes sense.

“I think it all has to do with not so much as how many violators are in your area, but how many officers you have looking for those violators,” Young said.

Top cities/counties based on per capita population in 2018

But what about those towns that don’t have a lot of officers, which are sometimes accused of running speed traps? The KSL Investigators dug a little deeper to find out which cities and counties give out the most tickets per capita. In no particular order, they include:

  • Mantua
  • Wellington
  • Big Water
  • Monticello
  • Emery County
  • Garfield County
  • Juab County

Based on the data, Mantua gives out the most tickets based on population. It was the only area to hand out more tickets (1,283) in 2018 than it has people living there (822).

Photo: KSL TV

Time of the month

Most drivers KSL talked to believe speeding tickets are most often given out at the end of the month.

Photo: KSL TV

However, out of the 13,346 tickets KSL Investigators checked from February 2018, more tickets were actually filed in the first week of the month, and it gradually went down from there.

  • First week: 3,747
  • Second week: 3,695
  • Third week: 3,110
  • Fourth week: 2,794

Day of the week

As for the biggest day of the week, KSL did a deep dive into nearly 3,000 speeding tickets from this same week last year, and data shows Saturday as the most popular day for tickets.

Time of the year

Most drivers believe the summer months are when you’re most likely to get a speeding ticket.

“I don’t know what it is about summer, but it’s a crazy time for drivers,” Young said. “So that’s when we’re going to be out there stepping up our enforcement.”

But when KSL broke down those tens of thousands of tickets, the busiest month in 2018 was not actually in the summer; it was in the spring, with March having the highest number of speeding tickets given.

  • January: 14,416
  • February: 13,364
  • March: 16,572
  • April: 14,892
  • May: 15,233
  • June: 14,540
  • July: 13,268
  • August: 13,169
  • September: 12,243
  • October: 11,895
  • November: 12,915
  • December: 10,782

KSL also asked Young a question almost every driver wants to know: Is there a speed you can go above the limit without getting a ticket? Young said he has a buffer zone but every officer is different.

“Me personally, I’m looking for 13 over,” Young said.

For him, it’s not so much about the driver’s apparent need for speed, it's more about the need for safety.

“Speed in and of itself may not contribute to the number of incidents of crashes, but it certainly contributes to whether or not that crash is fatal,” Young said. “My end goal is to change people’s driving behavior.”

This leads to driving behaviors that keep all of us safe on the roads.

Young has a Facebook page called “Zack the Traffic Cop” that he uses as a platform to promote safe driving.

Tania Dean
Mike Headrick

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